Here’s our list of the most famous artists of all time.
4. Jackson Pollock
Hampered by alcoholism, self-doubt and clumsiness as a conventional painter, Pollock transcended his limitations in a brief but incandescent period between 1947 and 1950 when he produced the drip abstractions that cemented his renown. Eschewing the easel to lay his canvases fait on the floor, he used house paint straight from the can, flinging and dribbling thin skeins of pigment that left behind a concrete record of his movements—a technique that would become known as action painting.
Michelangelo was a triple threat: A painter (the Sistine Ceiling), a sculptor (the David and Pietà) and architect (St. Peter's Basilica in Rome). Make that a quadruple threat since he also wrote poetry. Though he bounced between Florence, Bologna and Venice, his greatest commissions were for the Medici Popes (including Julian II and Leo X, among others) in Rome. Aside from the aforementioned Sistine Ceiling, St. Peter's Basilica and Pietà, there was his tomb for Pope Julian II (which includes his iconic carving of Moses) and the design for the Laurentian Library at at San Lorenzo's Church. Twenty years after painting the Sistine Ceiling, he returned to the Chapel to create one of the greatest frescoes of the Renaissance: The Last Judgment.
6. Pablo Picasso
Born in Málaga, Spain, Pablo Picasso is undoubtedly one of the most famous artists ever. His name is virtually synonymous with modern art, and it doesn’t hurt that he fits the commonly held image of the outlaw genius whose ambitions are matched by an appetite for living large. He changed the course of art history with revolutionary innovations that include collage and, of course, Cubism, which broke the stranglehold of representational subject matter on art, and set the tempo for other 20th-century artists. He utterly transformed multiple mediums, making so many works that it’s hard to grasp his achievement.
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